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Beside the decorated tree, Catalan houses also display a Nativity Scene at Christmas; the representation with figures to recreate the birth of Jesus. Streets, squares, churches and entities of the city each prepare their own Nativity Scene, some with real people acting as figures. The most famous one is in the Plaça Sant Jaume, but there are many others such as the Iglesia de Belen, the Pia Almoina, Associació de Pessebristes de Barcelona, Reial Monestir de Santa Maria de Pedralbes, or Poble Espanyol. There are also scenes that underline a particular feature, such as the Nativity Scene of the Casa dels Entremesos, which has a touch of humour with the giant figures of Ciutat Vella.
Undoubtedly a tradition that deserves exploring this Christmas.
Closely related to Carnival, the Tres Tombs feast is held –at least since 1826– in Sant Antoni neighbourhood, the heart of Eixample district.
In homage to muleteers, wagoners and peasant farmers, the horse parade is performed by ancient carriages animal drawn and several riders. It always appears the Unitat Muntada de la Guàrdia Urbana (Horse Guards of the local police) and riders who escort Sant Antoni and Santa Eulàlia flags, the co-patron saint of the city. But, overall, there are amazing carriages such as a firefighter truck driven by horses, the Imperial carriage of the funeral services, a delivery carriage for wineskins, one for the rice growers and some other historical ones from Barcelona and other Catalan cities.
Lots of citizens –and lots of kids- congregate together in front of the church to bless their domestic animals. The parade finishes in Plaça Sant Jaume, when the local authorities welcome the entourage.
This is the main architectural event in Barcelona, a weekend in October where over 200 buildings of every shape and size open their doors to the general public. It is an initiative of the 48h Open House Barcelona association, which began in London in 1992. From then on, the concept of an 'Open House' has been implemented around the world: New York, Dublin, Galway, Tel Aviv and, since 2010, Barcelona, have their own week dedicated to local architecture. 'Open House' offers the opportunity to understand and experience architecture in a unique way, through an architectonic experience.
The program invites everyone to explore and understand the value of a well-constructed and designed space. In the last few years, this event in Barcelona has expanded to include cities and villages from the metropolitan area and the Maresme Coast, and on the roster of buildings to visit we will come across churches, schools, sports centers, apartment blocks, libraries and restaurants.
Adapted tours for Open House 2019:
- Modernista trail through the Eixample
Adapted Tour for people with motor impairment.
Meeting point: Plaça Catalunya/Portal de l'Angel, in front of the Banco de España.
Saturday 26th October 4pm
A walk through the Quadrat d'Or heritage quarter in the Eixample, which was home to Barcelona's bourgeoisie in the late 19th century. You'll be able to admire modernista buildings by Gaudí, Domènech i Montaner, Puig i Cadafalch, and other architects who were part of the Catalan art nouveau movement.
- Literary trail through Gràcia
Adapted Tour for visually impaired people.
Meeting point: Fontana Metro station (corner of Gran de Gràcia and Carrer Astúries)
Sunday 27th October 11am
Places visited: Air-raid shelter 232 in the Plaça del Diamant.
Last June, Barcelona was guest city at the Buenos Aires Book Fair. The literary trails devised for this event are the source of inspiration for this tour. We'll walk through the streets and squares where literary works were set or their authors lived or spent time. The Plaça del Diamant is one of these places and is, perhaps, most closely associated with Mercè Rodoreda's novel of the same name. We will end the tour in the square with a visit to the air-raid shelter built during the Spanish Civil War.
Tickets are sold out. You can find more English routes here: 48hopenhousebarcelona.org
Every week the Wine Tourism Information Point and Mirador de Colom Wines recommend a different wine. Visit the Mirador +wine or cava tasting, plus a second tasting of the Wine of the Week. If you like the wine, you can purchase it at a discount. Don't miss this unique experience: A journey through the true flavors of the territory from the city center!
The Barcelona Maritime Museum is running a varied program of leisure activities for all the family, aimed at arousing the curiosity, respect and appreciation for maritime culture.
The Museu de l'Eròtica of Barcelona presents its two new collections, Bag One and Two Virgins. They are a series of drawings and lithographs by John Lennon depicting his honeymoon and erotic scenes captured during his sexual encounters with Yoko Ono.
El Barcelona Obertura Spring Festival, a new venture of Barcelona Obertura Classic & Lyric, spreads classical music around the city and, for fifteen days, the best international artists are on stage at the three main venues: Gran Teatre del Liceu, Palau de la Música Catalana and L'Auditori.
Barcelona Obertura Classic and Lyric brings together the city's key classical music venues to extend their global reach and reputation even further, and demonstrate Barcelona's wealth of classical music programming.
La Quinzena the dance festival which will display all styles and genres to a potential audience of 5 million people. The festival will take place all over the metropolitan area of Barcelona, covering the municipalities of Barcelona, Badalona, Santa Coloma, L'Hospitalet, Cornellà, Espluges and others.
Programmed in theaters, but also in streets, squares and subway stations, dance at its finest now has a festival that includes classic and contemporary dance, hip hop, jazz, traditional dance and any other style.
Carnival, a festivity based on the lunar calendar and eagerly anticipated by Catalans, always begins on a Thursday (Fat Thursday) and ends on the following Wednesday (Ash Wednesday).
Carnival is synonymous with partying, bustling crowds, costumes, parades and so on. In short, it is a week given over to hedonism and having a good time being the forerunner to the period of fasting and deprivation represented by the Christian tradition of Lent. These days, beyond the excesses, Carnival is a light-hearted popular festival based around the crazy figure named El Rei Carnestoltes (The Carnival King). While carnival is celebrated in almost every town and village throughout Catalonia, the places that historically stand out for their particular traditions are Barcelona, Sitges, Vilanova i la Geltrú and Torelló. However, wherever you may be during the festivities, you will be able to try some of the delicious traditional Carnival dishes: the coca de llardons (flatbread with pancetta) or botifarra d'ou (pork sausage containing egg).
Barcelona Carnival: The official dates for this year are 20/2 to 26/2. The Rei Carnestoltes arrives in the Passeig del Born with his entourage comprising seven ambassadors who symbolize the seven historical towns within the city (Horta, Sant Andreu, Sarrià, Gràcia, Sants, les Corts and Sant Martí). There are also further parades that take place in different places throughout the city. Carnival is also evident in the markets of Barcelona which are full of people letting their hair down, costumes, tastings and a frenetic rhythm. On Sunday night you can experience the wild party known as the "gran sarao".
Sitges: The Carnival King arrives in Sitges at 19:00 on 20 February. From that point on you can join the parade. Throughout the whole weekend there are a range of activities to suit any and every audience: concerts, cookery demonstrations, races using decorated beds and costumes, lots and lots of costumes.
Torelló: This town in the Barcelona county of Osona has its own name for the Carnival: the Carnaval de Terra Endins (the inland carnival). The Carnival King bursts into a council session being held in the City Hall, relieves the mayor of his duties and takes over for seven days. The parade held in Torelló is a participative one in which anybody can join in and which includes all kinds of representations of mythical beasts.
Vilanova i la Geltrú: In this municipality of the Garraf region (Barcelona), the carnival is organized by the local community and always includes a high level of social comment. The most meaningful event for them is Les Comparses (carnival troupe) in which more than 10,000 pairs of comparseros take to the streets accompanied by charanga brass bands, while throwing candy to the crowds.
The D'A Film Festival of Barcelona is an essential springtime event for aficionados of contemporary indie and auteur cinema, both local and from around the globe; some of the films shown have already won awards at other festivals while many are getting their Spanish premiere.
With close to 100 films being presented, one of the highlights of D'A is always the attendance of many of the directors whose works are being shown for round tables and Q&A sessions about their productions. As ever, various venues show the films selected for D'A.
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